Hofburg, Sissi and their tableware

January 8, 2012 § 2 Comments

Sculpture outside the Hofburg. Vienna. Dec 12, 2011.

I love visiting palaces and old architecture. I guess one of the reason is that we simply don’t have much of those in Hong Kong. Whenever I stepped inside a castle or an old church, it was like a time travel for me. I’d imagine how people lived in the past, how they used this space… in their beautiful period costume. Very often, especially inside palaces, you also get to see some exquisitely made items up close.

The Hofburg houses 3 different exhibitions: The Silver Collection, The Sissi Museum and The Imperial Apartment. I went in and see all 3 in that same order. Normally I’m not a huge fan of forks, knives and plates, but plate after plate, I realized everyone of them was painted carefully with so much details. I was particularly inspired by the color story of some of them. This silva collection is quite lovely to see. Not only because of the vast amount of imperial tableware, which helped my mind to imagine how the king dined, but there were quite a few unique items.

Eat like a king with golden center piece for holding food and fruit. Hofburg, Vienna. Dec 12, 2011.

Love the pastel color on the right. Hofburg, Vienna. Dec 12, 2011.

I think this is the most unique of all. Love the imitation of wood. Hofburg, Vienna. Dec 12, 2011.

Napkin folding at its finest/craziest. For me, it was jaw dropping. Hofburg, Vienna. Dec 12, 2011.

Plates with beautiful butterflies details. Hofburg, Vienna. Dec 12, 2011.

At this point I was still thinking of the Quality Hunters project hosted by Finnair and Helsinki airport. These plates reminded me of the trays and cups onboard of my Finnair flight. Instead of clear plastic cups, they uses mostly paper cups. I’m believe it’s for recycling purpose (heard it from somewhere I forgot), but honestly if you don’t mention it, most passengers view it as a cheap substitute for a nice looking plastic one. So why not print something on the bottom cups to raise the awareness of the recycling effort? Or what if the paper material is printed with landscape or landmarks around Finland? Or even special insects or plants that are native to Finland? With a bit of description, we can turn that plain paper cup into something informative, attractive and interesting.

I never knew much about the Empress Elisabeth of Austria. The Sissi museum provided a lot of history and story about this legendary queen, filled with lots of personal items that once belonged to her. Of course, the thing that caught most of my attention was all those costume. Most of them were replicas, but it was still amazing to see. In particular the dress Elisabeth wore for the coronation as the Queen of Hungary (1867). The real dress was created by the Parisian couturier, Charles Frederick Worth. The brocade dress has lots of lace trimmings and pearl lacing, it was simply stunning with a hungarian touch. Apart from this dress, It was amazing to see how tiny her waistline could get!

The dress she wore for the coronation as the Queen of Hungry.

From the Imperial Apartments, I get to see how the Viennese court was like. I really enjoy seeing the room where Elisabeth would dress her insanely long hair. Apparently it takes hour to set her hair right, and she shampooed it once every two weeks with cognac. She also has a small gym to help her to stay in that crazy slender figure. I also learned how much Franz Joseph I loved her. There were lots of paintings of her around his study. It was a little sad to walk trough the rooms while knowing more about the life between this royal couple.

Elisabeth with diamond stars in her hair (1865), by Franz Xaver Winterhalter

You may have a tour of the Imperial Apartments at : www.hofburg-wien.at

Note: The entrance was a little hard to find at first. Please make sure you know exactly where it is before heading over, save yourself from walking around the entire Hofburg…

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